Chicken Feed Sacks: The Birth of a New Product Line

Copyright Lynda Altman and The Granny Squared

If you follow my Etsy shop, you know that I upcycle my empty chicken feed sacks into tote bags. Sixteen hens eat a lot of feed, about 7 lbs. a day, so 40 pounds doesn’t even last a week. That leaves me with 52+ empty sacks a year, plus bags from the dog food and chicken treats.


The tote bags are cool, and I have made plenty. But I was looking to do something different. Going through a stack of vintage sewing patterns, I came across a 1980s Simplicity pattern that was not suitable for sale. The pattern is supposed to make 6 different aprons, but many of the pieces are missing. It is vintage, but it is very common pattern, and there are plenty of complete ones available at a reasonable price.


Counting the pattern pieces, I realized that I could make 4 out of the 6 apron styles. Two of those styles are cobbler’s aprons. I love this style. It is a full coverage apron, giving you back and front coverage. If you paint, garden, craft, or clean, the cobbler’s apron is a great choice. Another bonus is two ample front pockets. I started thinking…


Collecting the pieces I needed, I laid out a feed sack to see if the pattern pieces will fit. It was close, but it will work. Each apron will take 2 feed sacks. The pocket has to come from a second bag.


The pattern called for fold over braid trim. I did not have any of that on hand, and I hate to purchase something other than thread for an upcycled project. Digging through my stash, I came across the perfect choice. A spool of vintage grosgrain ribbon, and it was almost an exact match to the green on the feed sack.


Tracing the pattern is easy, especially with feed sacks. I use a Sharpie marker. You will never see the cutting lines on the finished item. Craft scissors are in order here. The feed sacks will kill your sewing shears in no time, save them for fabric.


There are only 3 pattern pieces for this particular apron. The main piece is the front and back. I opened the bottom of the feed sack so that it would lay flat. I traced the pattern onto the front, centering it as best as I could so I made the most of the chicken image. Then, I cut through both layers, creating the front and back of the apron at the same time. The pocket is a little tricky. For it to look great, you have to try to capture the same part of the image as the front piece of the apron. This way the chicken image matches and looks more professional. The side ties are cut from the feed sack. Four separate ties are required.


Assembly is a breeze. Add ribbon to the top of the pocket piece. Match it up to the bottom of the apron and stitch. Then the shoulders are stitched, followed by the ties. Ribbon trims the neckline and edges of the apron.

Copyright Lynda Altman and The Granny Squared

Vintage Apron Pattern

Want to make a similar apron? You can find Simplicity 7974 from 1968 in my Etsy shop. How do you feel about cobbler aprons? Leave a comment to let me know.


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